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Nursing in New Zealand: History and Reminiscences

Chapter LI. — Holiday Visit to Australia

page 242

Chapter LI.
Holiday Visit to Australia.

In September, 1920, I was granted three months deferred leave, and went to Australia to visit my relatives. During the War, it had been impossible for me to take any leave, and my last holiday leave had been in 1913. Of course, 1 had a short time in Australia in 1915 on my way back from Egypt, but only while waiting for a passage from Sydney to New Zealand. Therefore, I was very eager to visit my native land again. My niece, Hilda Loughnan, had been with me for the past twelve months, and returned with me to Australia.

I spent a happy time there, visiting my relatives and friends, and returned early in 1921 to my work in New Zealand. I am always glad to get back to my home; I had let it for the six months of my absence. After I returned, I let one room to an ex-nurse, well known in Wellington, Miss France. She was with me for about a year and I was then alone for a time, and after that my sister, Mrs. Loughnan and my niece, Hilda, came and paid me a long visit. It was very pleasant to have their company and they looked after the place in my absence on official travelling.

So the time passed on, many of the matters I have already mentioned, took place during the next few years before my retirement.

About this time, in 1921, the Minister of Health was very anxious to know what could be done to improve the page 243 conditions for nurses in hospital, and directed me to furnish a report on what I thought could be done.

In my report, I stated that in many ways the condition for nurses in the New Zealand hospitals were good. They worked practically for an eight-hour day, though some of the smaller hospitals could not quite arrange this; they were well housed and well fed and had reasonable holidays every year. Probationers were also well paid.

All the alterations in present conditions I could recommend were higher pay to qualified nurses to give them some chance of laying by for their old age, a system of superannuation, and a day off duty each week when possible; many hospitals already giving this.

My report no doubt, is now lost in some old pigeonhole and I do not remember much of what I wrote.

The system of superannuation is now an accomplished fact, as I have related in another page.